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Ava's disappearance was the crack in the Rivers family glacier. I wish I could explain to you how we were before, but I can't, because the before is so filmy and shadowed with the after. The after is all Vera remembers. When her twin sister, Ava, disappeared one Halloween night, her childhood became a blur of theories, tips, and leads, but never any answers. The case made h Ava's disappearance was the crack in the Rivers family glacier. I wish I could explain to you how we were before, but I can't, because the before is so filmy and shadowed with the after. The after is all Vera remembers. When her twin sister, Ava, disappeared one Halloween night, her childhood became a blur of theories, tips, and leads, but never any answers. The case made headlines, shocked Vera's Northern California community, and turned her family into tragic celebrities. Now, at eighteen, Vera is counting down the days until she starts her new life at college in Portland, Oregon, far away from the dark cloud she and family have lived under for twelve years. But all that changes when a girl shows up at the local hospital. Her name is Ava Rivers and she wants to go home. Ava's return begins to mend the fractures in the Rivers family. Vera and Ava's estranged older brother returns. Vera reconnects with Max, the sweet, artistic boy from her childhood. Their parents smile again. But the questions remain: Where was Ava all these years? And who is she now?


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Ava's disappearance was the crack in the Rivers family glacier. I wish I could explain to you how we were before, but I can't, because the before is so filmy and shadowed with the after. The after is all Vera remembers. When her twin sister, Ava, disappeared one Halloween night, her childhood became a blur of theories, tips, and leads, but never any answers. The case made h Ava's disappearance was the crack in the Rivers family glacier. I wish I could explain to you how we were before, but I can't, because the before is so filmy and shadowed with the after. The after is all Vera remembers. When her twin sister, Ava, disappeared one Halloween night, her childhood became a blur of theories, tips, and leads, but never any answers. The case made headlines, shocked Vera's Northern California community, and turned her family into tragic celebrities. Now, at eighteen, Vera is counting down the days until she starts her new life at college in Portland, Oregon, far away from the dark cloud she and family have lived under for twelve years. But all that changes when a girl shows up at the local hospital. Her name is Ava Rivers and she wants to go home. Ava's return begins to mend the fractures in the Rivers family. Vera and Ava's estranged older brother returns. Vera reconnects with Max, the sweet, artistic boy from her childhood. Their parents smile again. But the questions remain: Where was Ava all these years? And who is she now?

30 review for The Second Life of Ava Rivers

  1. 5 out of 5

    Kai

    "Maybe joy is even more potent when you've known the depth of its opposite." What a ride. I read this book in under 24 hours, that's how compelling it was. I expected it to be way different though. On a Halloween night 12 years ago Ava Rivers disappeared without a trace. Her family has been a mess ever since. Her mother has thrown herself into organising fundraisers, search parties and soup kitchens. Her father has buried himself in the cellar, reading books on kidnappings and following every new "Maybe joy is even more potent when you've known the depth of its opposite." What a ride. I read this book in under 24 hours, that's how compelling it was. I expected it to be way different though. On a Halloween night 12 years ago Ava Rivers disappeared without a trace. Her family has been a mess ever since. Her mother has thrown herself into organising fundraisers, search parties and soup kitchens. Her father has buried himself in the cellar, reading books on kidnappings and following every new lead and her brother has drowned himself in alcohol and other drugs. They all blame themselves for Ava's disappearance. So does Vera, her twin sister. She has been the twin sister of a famous ghost girl ever since that night. And she has long given up hope. Until Ava turns up, bruised and broken, but alive. She has been kept in an attic for all these years and can hardly remember a life before the attic. Old wounds will close and the Riverses can finally be a family again. But everything is not as easy and happy as it seems. As I said, it took me less than a day to read this book. The chapters were short, the pacing was well done and the plot was well developed. I knew something was off, knew that there would be some kind of plot twist at the end but I could not figure it out. I am still a bit blown away by it all. It was unexpected. I cannot say that I liked it, but I also did not hate it. I wished the ending/the twist would have developed differently, though. I kept getting surprised by the writing - in a good way. I thought this book would be much darker and dab into the mystery or thriller genre. Don't get me wrong, the overall topic is dark as it is - kidnapping, rape, abuse - but the light tone and the likeable and often funny main character took away some of its heaviness. The more YA novels I read that feature queer main characters without needing to emphasise or focus on their sexuality, the happier I get. I wish society would be as accepting and forward as YA fiction sometimes. The day that someone's sexuality stops being a big deal will be a happy one. Thank you to PRH International and NetGalley for providing an eARC of this book! Find more of my books on Instagram

  2. 4 out of 5

    PinkAmy loves books, cats and naps

    5 STARS At age six, Vera’s twin Ava goes missing Halloween night. For almost twelve years, the Rivers family barely functions. Their father retreats to the basement, rarely leaving the home. Their mother races from activities related to Ava and missing children. Older brother Elliot is lost in drugs. Vera can’t remember the last time she’s seen him. And Vera fades into the background, eager to move to Portland to start college. Faith Gardner’s gorgeous writing made frequently me pause and reread p 5 STARS At age six, Vera’s twin Ava goes missing Halloween night. For almost twelve years, the Rivers family barely functions. Their father retreats to the basement, rarely leaving the home. Their mother races from activities related to Ava and missing children. Older brother Elliot is lost in drugs. Vera can’t remember the last time she’s seen him. And Vera fades into the background, eager to move to Portland to start college. Faith Gardner’s gorgeous writing made frequently me pause and reread passages. I felt as though I was inside Vera’s skin, feeling her emotions throughout the book. Everyone should have a sister as loving as Vera. She’s strong, yet vulnerable. She doesn’t tell you about her great sense of humor, she shows you in her quips. Before the kidnapping, Ava had been the animated, attention grabber. Vera, content in her sister’s shadow, stands up to her twin that fateful Halloween with disastrous consequences. Ava was so damaged, broken by her years in captivity, a survivor with years of healing ahead of her. I enjoy kidnapped/returned stories and have twenty-one in my kindle collection. THE SECOND LIFE OF AVA RIVERS is among the best with unique components (can’t say which, you’ll know when you finish). There were a few unanswered questions, clues I wanted more information about. I don’t want to say more about the plot for fear of spoiling. Don’t read too many reviews before starting. THE SECOND LIFE OF AVA RIVERS is more contemporary than a mystery. I wouldn’t use the word thriller, although the ending is suspenseful. I’m anxious to read Gardner’s review, Perdita and will automatically preorder her next book.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Jamie Dacyczyn

    Hmmm, I'm going to go ahead and rate this as "Fine, but..." I kind of got the impression that this was going to be a thriller or suspense: told from the POV of a teen girl, Vera, whose twin sister Ava went missing when they were 6. After 12 years of no hope, the missing girl is suddenly found, and the family has to deal with the aftermath of having their long lost daughter/sister again. But who has she become in that time, and where has she been.....? I felt like there was an implied "Dun, dun, D Hmmm, I'm going to go ahead and rate this as "Fine, but..." I kind of got the impression that this was going to be a thriller or suspense: told from the POV of a teen girl, Vera, whose twin sister Ava went missing when they were 6. After 12 years of no hope, the missing girl is suddenly found, and the family has to deal with the aftermath of having their long lost daughter/sister again. But who has she become in that time, and where has she been.....? I felt like there was an implied "Dun, dun, DUNNN!!" in the description that hinted to a more thrilling story. But...it wasn't. It was mostly a story about *Family Relationships and Feelings*. Hm. Not quite what I thought I signed up for. As an emotional story about a sister being reunited with her long lost twin, I guess it was fine, just not for me. The ending however (view spoiler)[ is probably where the author tried to make this into a thriller after all. With almost no preamble, it's suddenly announced that the REAL Ava's body has been found. Confirmed with DNA testing. The teen girl who they THOUGHT was Ava was actually the victim of a different abusive past, who kind of went along with it when she was "found". Hmmmm. I mean, ok, fine. Maybe this is supposed to be a shocking twist, but it seemed like we could see it a long way off. "Ava" never actually admitted to remembering anything, she just repeated what others said when they were like, "Hey, remember this...." Partly because I was expecting this to be a mystery/thriller, and partly because of the obvious clues, this "twist" didn't surprise me at all. And it happened so abruptly that there wasn't really much suspense either. I also thought that the overall explanation was pretty weak. The real Ava was found, less than a mile from home, inside of an old refrigerator in the backyard of a decrepit property. She was never kidnapped, just hid herself in a fridge and perished there. Her bones weren't found until one investigator decided (after teenage "Ava" was found) on a whim to go back to where Ava had gone missing and search nearby. He noted the junky property, had the property searched, and they found the old fridge in the backyard with Ava's remains inside. All right.....except, seriously? A child goes missing and everyone just ASSUMES that she'd kidnapped (with no evidence of such), so no thorough search of the neighborhood happened until 12 years later? I dunno, maybe they do things differently in California, but here if a child went missing, they'd have search & rescue dogs tracking Ava's scent and a team of police, wardens, volunteers and scouring the neighborhood. A derelict property with junk in the backyard right near where the child went missing would DEFINITELY have been a hot spot to search right away, not 12 years later. It feels to me that the author needed a way for Ava to disappear and then be conveniently found again right when the plot needed it to happen. Unfortunately, it seems that the author didn't have a thorough knowledge of how a missing child investigation would have proceeded, so the circumstances that she used don't really hold water, at least not to me. (hide spoiler)] So, an OK book, but lacking in some areas for me.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Amy

    This book was all over the place for me. The premise is interesting but I felt like the author was inconsistent in the main objective of the book. Is it a book exploring the issues of family relationships or is it a mystery? And she doesn't do either issue much justice. The mystery is highly predictable but gets bogged down by all the "relationship" stuff. And the relationship stuff drags on and on and on and the mystery sort of gets neatly wrapped up at the end. I didn't care for this book at a This book was all over the place for me. The premise is interesting but I felt like the author was inconsistent in the main objective of the book. Is it a book exploring the issues of family relationships or is it a mystery? And she doesn't do either issue much justice. The mystery is highly predictable but gets bogged down by all the "relationship" stuff. And the relationship stuff drags on and on and on and the mystery sort of gets neatly wrapped up at the end. I didn't care for this book at all.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Tory

    Finally, a YA book I didn't hate! A page-turner about what happens when the sister who disappeared 12 years ago finally returns. I didn't want to put it down! Two complaints: one, the OFT-perpetuated myth of "you can't report someone as missing until 24 hours has passed" (I consider this to be downright harmful, the more I see it in film and print); two, it was weird to me how many people smoked in this book. Finally, a YA book I didn't hate! A page-turner about what happens when the sister who disappeared 12 years ago finally returns. I didn't want to put it down! Two complaints: one, the OFT-perpetuated myth of "you can't report someone as missing until 24 hours has passed" (I consider this to be downright harmful, the more I see it in film and print); two, it was weird to me how many people smoked in this book.

  6. 4 out of 5

    steph

    I was totally into this up until the end (view spoiler)[when it turns out her long lost sister is not really her sister but instead another abused child pretending to be her (hide spoiler)] . I think this is third YA book I've read in the past few years that have the same plot line right down to the end so that was a bit of a let down. However I did like Vera and I liked that her family wasn't perfect (even after her sister was found). That felt really relatable. I was totally into this up until the end (view spoiler)[when it turns out her long lost sister is not really her sister but instead another abused child pretending to be her (hide spoiler)] . I think this is third YA book I've read in the past few years that have the same plot line right down to the end so that was a bit of a let down. However I did like Vera and I liked that her family wasn't perfect (even after her sister was found). That felt really relatable.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Nina

    I was very interested in this book because it reminded me of the tv series The Family, which is one of my favorites of all times, but I kept expecting this book to live up to my expectations and that wasn’t fair. This book had good writing style, good characters that didn’t feel like real people, just that, characters and a captivating plot that didn’t deliver, in my opinion. I just didn’t like it. I heard it was a fast read because the chapters were really short but even then, I was halfway don I was very interested in this book because it reminded me of the tv series The Family, which is one of my favorites of all times, but I kept expecting this book to live up to my expectations and that wasn’t fair. This book had good writing style, good characters that didn’t feel like real people, just that, characters and a captivating plot that didn’t deliver, in my opinion. I just didn’t like it. I heard it was a fast read because the chapters were really short but even then, I was halfway done with this book and I was like what else is there to happen? I read a review where someone said this book was indecisive about being a mystery or a story about a family healing and I agree. I thought it was gonna be a mystery but then we had the whole ordeal with the family and I thought it was good but then it went back to being a mystery and both of them didn’t work well together. I really wish I had liked it because it has a lot of good things but it didn’t happen. Sadly.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Lysandra

    Wow this book was quite the emotional read for me. It’s a story about grief and forgiveness; how many different forms it can take. In the form of grieving for a person who never was, in the form of forgiving themselves or not yet forgiving themselves but trying, in the form of how grief brings you closer to family but also drives you apart from family... I love Vera and the Riverses so much. I want to hug them and protect them. What many people may not realize is that this book gives others who Wow this book was quite the emotional read for me. It’s a story about grief and forgiveness; how many different forms it can take. In the form of grieving for a person who never was, in the form of forgiving themselves or not yet forgiving themselves but trying, in the form of how grief brings you closer to family but also drives you apart from family... I love Vera and the Riverses so much. I want to hug them and protect them. What many people may not realize is that this book gives others who dealt with loss and grief (and to those still going through it) a comfortable space to feel their emotions and ***to relate***; this book / Vera gives these people a platform to understand grief... that talking about your pain with someone is healing. That it’s okay to seek for professional help, that it’s normal to feel lost and confused, that the notions of grief are different but doesn’t make your grief any better or worse than someone else (e.g. Vera’s father dealt with his grief by shutting himself away from the outside and adapting a life through internet means or Vera’s mother dealt with her grief by being active and doing charity work.)

  9. 4 out of 5

    Rox

    I've found a new favourite. The Second Life of Ava Rivers is such a gripping story that kept me invested. I couldn't stop reading. And the writing....the writing. Gorgeous. I could read chapters and chapters of all the beautiful metaphors Faith Gardner blesses us with in this book. The characters were all so lovable and I fell in love with them. Vera is such a selfless, strong woman, who doesn't deserve the cards she's been dealt in life. My girl deserves the world. I love her so much. This story I've found a new favourite. The Second Life of Ava Rivers is such a gripping story that kept me invested. I couldn't stop reading. And the writing....the writing. Gorgeous. I could read chapters and chapters of all the beautiful metaphors Faith Gardner blesses us with in this book. The characters were all so lovable and I fell in love with them. Vera is such a selfless, strong woman, who doesn't deserve the cards she's been dealt in life. My girl deserves the world. I love her so much. This story also ripped my hart out and stomped on it, which is something that I tend to avoid, but it was worth it. I would cry with these characters any day. I can't imagine this story leaving me any time soon. It'll be staying with me for a while.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Eliza Smith

    Faith Gardner has written another fabulous YA novel. Like her first, Perdita, this one is a page-turning thrill ride. Vera, our protagonist, is a complex, emotional character with a funny, ironic voice. Gardner's writing is all at once snappy and poetic, and her pacing is pitch perfect. I read this book in less than 24 hours; I couldn't put it down! And I'm still thinking about it, wishing I could read it for the first time all over again. As a Bay Area resident myself, this book is a wonderful, Faith Gardner has written another fabulous YA novel. Like her first, Perdita, this one is a page-turning thrill ride. Vera, our protagonist, is a complex, emotional character with a funny, ironic voice. Gardner's writing is all at once snappy and poetic, and her pacing is pitch perfect. I read this book in less than 24 hours; I couldn't put it down! And I'm still thinking about it, wishing I could read it for the first time all over again. As a Bay Area resident myself, this book is a wonderful, sometimes cutting, love letter to the region, and it was fun to get lost in geography with which I'm so familiar. Gardner is definitely one to watch for. I can't wait for her next book--it can't come soon enough!

  11. 4 out of 5

    Sharon

    The book is called The Second Life of Ava Rivers, but her sister Vera is the main narrator of the story. When six year old Ava disappeared without a trace on Halloween night, her twin sister Vera is left without her best friend. Between the guilty feelings of their twelve year old brother, who was supposed to be watching the girls, and her parents' descent into their own worlds of grief and anger, Vera is pretty much left to navigate the world alone. When the unthinkable happens twelve years lat The book is called The Second Life of Ava Rivers, but her sister Vera is the main narrator of the story. When six year old Ava disappeared without a trace on Halloween night, her twin sister Vera is left without her best friend. Between the guilty feelings of their twelve year old brother, who was supposed to be watching the girls, and her parents' descent into their own worlds of grief and anger, Vera is pretty much left to navigate the world alone. When the unthinkable happens twelve years later, will Vera be able to cope with changes in her world? How will the family dynamic differ from the time period before? I was not a fan of the writing style, with its teenage lingo and choppy sentence structure. This was clearly a book meant for its target audience, YA, but it would have been better had the author stuck to writing fundamentals. The Second Life of Ava Rivers could have been a compelling story, but there were just too many plot points that were unrealistic and ruined the novel for me. The book just drifts from situation to situation, never really engaging the reader in a meaningful way. For the reasons listed above, I would be hesitant to recommend The Second Life of Ava Rivers.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Claire Amarti

    I loved a lot of things about this book but the narrator's voice was probably my favorite thing. Vera Rose has a lot of sharpness and irony to her, she's not a sweet and saccharine kind of heroine - but she is so intelligent and so emotionally intelligent, that you can't help but fall for her, at least I couldn't. The story is a great what-if, and touches on some really dark and difficult things without being overwhelmed by them. What if the long-lost other half of you just showed up one day, ho I loved a lot of things about this book but the narrator's voice was probably my favorite thing. Vera Rose has a lot of sharpness and irony to her, she's not a sweet and saccharine kind of heroine - but she is so intelligent and so emotionally intelligent, that you can't help but fall for her, at least I couldn't. The story is a great what-if, and touches on some really dark and difficult things without being overwhelmed by them. What if the long-lost other half of you just showed up one day, how are you supposed to "go back to normal" after all those years? This novel doesn't offer easy answers, it really allows the world to be as complex as it is, which I think readers, especially young readers, appreciate. I really loved it.

  13. 5 out of 5

    BunTheDestroyer

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. I don't even know what to think or how to rate this book. I made it to page 504 on ebook, my heart broken the whole way reading. I loved the style; I couldn't put it down. Until...the secret was revealed. Now I am disgusted. New plot? Nope. Amazing twist? Nope. I honestly thought this book was going to be new, that it was a fictionalized book of someone dealing with their twin having been kidnapped and returned - not necessarily a thriller or requiring a twist. Just a family learning to DEAL. But I don't even know what to think or how to rate this book. I made it to page 504 on ebook, my heart broken the whole way reading. I loved the style; I couldn't put it down. Until...the secret was revealed. Now I am disgusted. New plot? Nope. Amazing twist? Nope. I honestly thought this book was going to be new, that it was a fictionalized book of someone dealing with their twin having been kidnapped and returned - not necessarily a thriller or requiring a twist. Just a family learning to DEAL. But no. The author fell for the SAME PLOTLINE that EVERY other kidnapping book has. NO originality. I am so so so sad I wasted time reading this. So for the writing I give it 3* because it really was fantastic, but negative 10* for this cheap trick. I am sick inside.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Katie Thompson

    I loved every page of this book! I found myself thinking I knew the way the story would end in one chapter, and then realizing later I had been changing my mind about the ending after almost every other chapter! The relationships in this story were especially intriguing; I was particularly moved by the depth of complexity and bittersweetness in the relationship between Ava and Vera. I know I've found a good book when I want to know more about how the story plays out even after I've read the last I loved every page of this book! I found myself thinking I knew the way the story would end in one chapter, and then realizing later I had been changing my mind about the ending after almost every other chapter! The relationships in this story were especially intriguing; I was particularly moved by the depth of complexity and bittersweetness in the relationship between Ava and Vera. I know I've found a good book when I want to know more about how the story plays out even after I've read the last page!

  15. 4 out of 5

    Abby Rose

    I could not finish this book, and I paid 17 dollars for it. That’s saying something. Every character was so aggressively unrealistic (except for the main character, who was just boring) it made the book practically unreadable. Dialogue was absolutely painful. Plot was thinner than chicken broth. The writing was lazy and disenchanting. Overall, a big disappointment.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Amber Smith

    A poignant, haunting story about being lost and found, about secrets, sisters, grief, and the redemptive power of forgiveness—THE SECOND LIFE OF AVA RIVERS will stay with you long after you’ve turned the last page.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Peter J.

    This is a brilliantly written "what if" thought experiment with many twists and turns and plenty of surprises. It has many levels and is intelligently weaved into a can't put down novel. Highly recommended. This is a brilliantly written "what if" thought experiment with many twists and turns and plenty of surprises. It has many levels and is intelligently weaved into a can't put down novel. Highly recommended.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Elna

    Gorgeous, heartbreaking, painful, yet with a sweet core to it all. Vera's spent basically her whole life in the shadow of her twin sister, who went missing when she was six. Her mother has thrown herself into victim advocacy, constantly appearing at fundraisers and events and keeping Ava's case in the media, while her father has retreated to the basement, constantly updating a website where people can report tips. Just as Vera's ready to leave for college, a girl matching Ava's aged-up photo is Gorgeous, heartbreaking, painful, yet with a sweet core to it all. Vera's spent basically her whole life in the shadow of her twin sister, who went missing when she was six. Her mother has thrown herself into victim advocacy, constantly appearing at fundraisers and events and keeping Ava's case in the media, while her father has retreated to the basement, constantly updating a website where people can report tips. Just as Vera's ready to leave for college, a girl matching Ava's aged-up photo is found wandering in a parking lot. Having been drugged and held captive for ten years, this new Ava has a spotty memory and an indomitable spirit. She refuses to be ashamed of what happened to her, even if she seems reluctant to provide any information that leads to his arrest. But what this is really about is the healing of the Rivers family. Once Ava returns, Vera's mother and father almost immediately rejoin the family and become their old selves: their mother stays home more often, and their father begins to emerge from his depression. Even Vera begins to let go of the resentment and pain she's been feeling for years. This new Ava is incredibly strong (which is the only unrealistic part - years of repeated trauma like that would certainly mess with your self-esteem and sense of self, if nothing else, and while Ava has PTSD and flashbacks, she seems years ahead in her recovery) and, more than anything, thankful to have a family again. The twist, when it comes, isn't shocking. There are clues scattered throughout that even Vera picks up on but prefers to ignore. This Ava fits in with their family and their lives, and was the catalyst for their healing. That's all that matters.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Nikki Stafinski

    As someone who is addicted to anything and everything true crime, I devoured this. It kept me up until 3am at one point. A lot of the chapters are really short, just a paragraph or two, which made it easy to zip right through. The entire story was really compelling and so well written. You could just feel the pain this entire family was going through, not to mention the loneliness Vera was going through. What is it like to spend six years of your life as a twin, one half of a whole, and then sud As someone who is addicted to anything and everything true crime, I devoured this. It kept me up until 3am at one point. A lot of the chapters are really short, just a paragraph or two, which made it easy to zip right through. The entire story was really compelling and so well written. You could just feel the pain this entire family was going through, not to mention the loneliness Vera was going through. What is it like to spend six years of your life as a twin, one half of a whole, and then suddenly be missing that half? It's a real identity struggle for her and you just feel for this girl. She refers to herself as the 'ghost girl' a few times because her whole family has a tendency to see right through her, as they're so focused on finding Ava. Even when they do find Ava, Vera is their bridge to getting through to her. I just really loved this. Vera was really fleshed out. All the characters were, which was nice. They all had their own unique personalities and stuck to them. Now I'm in the mood to read everything true crime. Definitely give this one a go if you're looking for a fast-paced, mystery, thriller type of feel.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Elizabeth Mellen

    This is probably my most enjoyed straight thriller. I did have a theory from the beginning that turned out to be right, but I like how it was revealed and wrapped up, so that’s ok. One issue I tend to have with thrillers is kind of being bored up til the last bit and then there’s lots of action - but this one, while not action packed to start, was an interesting build up. I felt invested in the narrators life, like had it just been about her and her adjustment and not a thriller/mystery at all, This is probably my most enjoyed straight thriller. I did have a theory from the beginning that turned out to be right, but I like how it was revealed and wrapped up, so that’s ok. One issue I tend to have with thrillers is kind of being bored up til the last bit and then there’s lots of action - but this one, while not action packed to start, was an interesting build up. I felt invested in the narrators life, like had it just been about her and her adjustment and not a thriller/mystery at all, I think I would’ve enjoyed it. I liked the peek into how the family was broken by the disappearance of Ava when she was 6. How her twin sister Vera sort of became invisible because everyone was so busy worrying about Ava. I liked that we see Vera try to move on to adulthood, before everything is changed by the return of Ava.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Isela

    so far i am on chapter 11 of this book so far what has been happening is that ava is a twins sister that no one knows what happened to her it was hallowen her and ava were trick or treating with there brother but there brother went to his friends Halloween party and there brother said that when they finished trick or treating to go back to his friend house and that he would take them back home and they did that but when they came back there brother was no where to be seen so her sister was on th so far i am on chapter 11 of this book so far what has been happening is that ava is a twins sister that no one knows what happened to her it was hallowen her and ava were trick or treating with there brother but there brother went to his friends Halloween party and there brother said that when they finished trick or treating to go back to his friend house and that he would take them back home and they did that but when they came back there brother was no where to be seen so her sister was on the lawn while ava wanted to play but she didn't want to so ava ran off and no one know where she is or where she went. everyone in there town know about it and in the book it goes a head of time to where she is 18 and she made a new friend and in 2 months she is going to go to collage. so far I like the book sometimes I like to over read then what we are supposed to because I'm bored and yeah.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Amanie McGee

    So this was a ride. A sad, mysterious, beautiful ride. The story pulled me in from the start and even though I figured out what was happening before the book was even half over I was so invested and still hoping for a happy ending that I kept reading. I enjoyed having the perspective of the family of the victim and man did I feel for them. I spent a good chunk of the time waiting for the other shoe to drop and when it did my heart ached for everyone involved.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Fangirl.bookgram

    I have to say, this book was really great. Tho I wished it leaned more into psychological thriller but still I could put it down. Didn’t expect that ending 🤐🤐 Full review will be on my blog the 31 of this month, https://fangirlbookgram.wordpress.com I have to say, this book was really great. Tho I wished it leaned more into psychological thriller but still I could put it down. Didn’t expect that ending 🤐🤐 Full review will be on my blog the 31 of this month, https://fangirlbookgram.wordpress.com

  24. 5 out of 5

    Rhiannon Rabby

    I was surprised to see what terrible ratings this book received, as I loved it more and more with each page. It was riveting and astonishing. It had 97 chapters because most of them were so short, which was kind of weird. But the story, the writing, and the characters were perfect.

  25. 5 out of 5

    niamh

    ✨2.5 out of 5✨

  26. 5 out of 5

    Natalia

    I figured out the plot twist early on 😈

  27. 5 out of 5

    Amy

    Many thanks to Edelweiss Plus and the publisher for providing me with an eARC of this for review. All opinions are my own. Ava Rivers disappeared on Halloween when she was six years old. Since then, her family has never been the same. Her twin, Vera, struggles to know who she is in a family that refuses to move on from this one horrific event. Her mother now only focuses on "events:" charity functions, volunteering, public appearances. Her father has become a recluse of sorts, living in the basem Many thanks to Edelweiss Plus and the publisher for providing me with an eARC of this for review. All opinions are my own. Ava Rivers disappeared on Halloween when she was six years old. Since then, her family has never been the same. Her twin, Vera, struggles to know who she is in a family that refuses to move on from this one horrific event. Her mother now only focuses on "events:" charity functions, volunteering, public appearances. Her father has become a recluse of sorts, living in the basement, maintaining FindAvaRivers.com and playing a "Sim City" type of game. Her brother no longer comes to family events after one memorable Thanksgiving where he threw the turkey out the window because he was high. So now, Vera is counting down the days to when she can move to Portland for college, to start over, to finally be herself. But then Ava is found. Alive. Abused. Confused. But definitely her. She comes back into the fold of the Riverses and it's like they get a glimpse of what their lives could have, no should have been. Everything is better, all at once. Of course, there are still questions (where was she, what happened to her, why won't Ava continue to talk to the police, what is she hiding). But the Riverses are trying to hold on to hope. And hope can be the most dangerous thing of all. Highly recommend. This is more of a "new adult" than "young adult" title, in my opinion. The main character is 19 and has deferred college. There is adult language, but very little in the way of graphic descriptions of sex or violence. Rape and abuse are mentioned, but never detailed. Mainly, this is a book that makes you think about what it means to be a family. What it is to have hope. What it is to lose hope, and how on earth you can come back from it.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Yumna

    This was one of those tomes I grabbed the first book I saw on the shelf. I am glad to say I was NOT disappointed. All I can say is that I’m going to need some time getting over this one.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Oona

    I really liked this book. It wasn't a thriller like expected but still great. I really liked the twist at the end. I really liked this book. It wasn't a thriller like expected but still great. I really liked the twist at the end.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Jennilyn

    “You ever felt like you’re living in a Lifetime movie?” At least twice, the book’s characters gave reference to movies adapted from real-life kidnapped girls in Lifetime. As a person who had a fair share of watching movies the likes of "Girl in the Box" and "I Am Elizabeth Smart", I may say so that yes, “The Second Life of Ava Rivers” felt somewhat like a Lifetime movie in book form. And no, I am not saying that it is a bad thing. The book is narrated by Vera Rivers. She is the fraternal twin sis “You ever felt like you’re living in a Lifetime movie?” At least twice, the book’s characters gave reference to movies adapted from real-life kidnapped girls in Lifetime. As a person who had a fair share of watching movies the likes of "Girl in the Box" and "I Am Elizabeth Smart", I may say so that yes, “The Second Life of Ava Rivers” felt somewhat like a Lifetime movie in book form. And no, I am not saying that it is a bad thing. The book is narrated by Vera Rivers. She is the fraternal twin sister of the titular Ava Rivers. For a long time, the shadow of Ava’s disappearance loomed large on the Rivers’ household and every member folded into each of their own despair. Dad quit his marketing job and became a basement hermit running the PR back-end of the case including the website FindAvaRivers.com. Mom became the front person and aside from bringing out fresh flyers on a regular basis, she became very involved with volunteer work. Guilt-wracked older brother Elliot decided to lead a gypsy life and is possibly a druggie. Vera practically became a furniture in her own house. Every year on Ava’s birthday, which is of course Vera’s birthday too, the family gathers in a tradition of flying balloons with sweet notes meant for Ava. At the beginning of the book, Vera is low-key thrilled to leave soon for college in Portland. The future is such a promise, a sweet offer to bury a tragic past. But the past doesn’t wanna seem to let up that easy because just as she is packed up and has barely a week to go, Ava is found alive. She was kept captive all these years in some stranger’s attic. The book has mystery elements blended well into a family drama. Having your family’s back is a large chunk of what the book is about. The dysfunction that has become of the Rivers house is transformed into a well-coordinated team effort to make Ava recover and well-adjusted back to their family. Vera, for one, selflessly decided to defer her enrollment to college to help Ava in almost everything. I’ve never expected to like such a passive character such as Vera. What she lacks in verve, she makes up for genuine kindness. At first, I felt that it was an odd choice to narrate from Vera’s point of view but coming now from having finished the book already, I say it’s this choice that made it effective on unraveling of what’s become of Ava Rivers. Ava Rivers’ resilience and child-like wonder to the real world is an amalgamation of the Brie Larson and Jacob Tremblay duo in another kidnapped girl film, the well-acclaimed “Room”. (I’ve watched the film but never read the book yet.) She is those two characters rolled into one and something else. That something else is what Vera (and the reader) has to figure out. While reading, I know that there’s more to what Ava is letting up but I just cannot put my finger on it. I had my guess and I thought I already knew what’s what, but the book managed to keep its secret from me before proper reveal time. And that’s one reason that made this book an enjoyable mystery read for me. Each chapter is brief so a focus-deficient reader like me did not wear out easily. The writing is concise with graceful touches to it. Here’s a quote expressing the fragility of Ava’s recovery: “The facade of recovery, of healing is so delicate. Each joy, each horror so fleeting.” And here’s an empowering line about overcoming a painful ordeal: “Monsters live, monsters die, but survivors? They survive.” So yes the book may or may not be bordering the territory of a cheesy Lifetime TV flick, but the really important thing to note here is that I ate it all up and I liked it.

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